On the morning of February 3, 1943, the USS Dorchester was en route to a secret radar installation in Greenland. It was on this harsh, cold morning that a German submarine sealed the fate of four brave chaplains and several other soldiers aboard the ship. When trying to escape the wreckage, four Army chaplains sacrificed their lives as they unselfishly gave their life jackets to other soldiers. As the ship was sinking, the four chaplains – a pastor, a rabbi, a minister, and a priest – could be heard from shore lifting up their separate prayers.


Civitan International adopted a resolution at the 42nd Annual Convention in Dallas, Texas, to recognize and honor clergymen during International Clergy Week. In 2020, Clergy Week will take place between February 3-7, 2020. Here are things your club can do to honor clergymen in your communities.

  • Hold a special banquet during a club meeting that week and invite your local clergy. In honor of the Four Chaplains, invite clergy from different faiths to attend the event.
  • Appoint an outstanding layperson to speak in honor of the clergy. Since clergy are your guests of honor, it’s best to appoint someone else to honor them during the banquet.
  • Contact your mayor’s office and request a proclamation to recognize the day throughout the city.

Be sure to contact local media if you are hosting an event. This is a great way to get the community involved in honoring your special guests.

If your club does host a special banquet, or finds a way to honor your local clergy, be sure to take photos and share your story with Civitan International for a chance to be featured in an upcoming edition of the Civitan Magazine or on social media. Send a brief description and high-resolution images to Amy Roberts at